So I went down to a high school in Pflugerville, Texas, near Austin, one Sunday for a noon pole vault practice.

I walked up wearing a pair of baggy cargo shorts, T-shirt, and flip flops, carrying a pair of worn-out sneakers. I met Brian and sat down next to him as a bunch of high-flying high school kids practiced running and jumping.

At one point, Brian asked me, “You ready?”

“No, not yet.”

He smiled and said, OK.

I sat there watching for two solid hours, taking it all in, but there was no way in hell I was going to get my old, fat butt out there and make a fool of myself in front of these kids, who were flying all over the place.

Finally, after two hours of practice, everyone started packing up and heading back to the parking lot. Pretty soon, it was just me, Brian, a former University of Texas vaulter, and somebody else. Brian said, “C’mon,” and he found me a pole and showed me how to hold it, and where to stand on the runway, a few strides from the pit.

He sat back down and said, “Go ahead and jump.”

It was now or never, so I ran a couple of steps, pushing the pole ahead of me until it hit the back of the plant box, and jumped …


I managed to get somewhat airborne, and part-way onto the big landing pit, half-in and half-out of the box. I tried it again and did a little better the next time, but the big toe on my left foot hurt pretty good from stubbing it on the metal box that first attempt. I went four more times, I think it was, and told Brian, “I think that’s enough for now.”

He smiled and said, OK.

I later found out that he thought my first outing was a big success because I apparently had sense enough to quit while I was ahead, and live to fight another day.

The next Sunday, I was back again, ready to try some more.

Story continued tomorrow …

On a side note, my good friend, Troy, messaged me today and told me he was looking at the Masters pole vault rankings for last year, and I actually ranked no. 22 in the country for my age group.

How ’bout them apples?

After the COVID scare pretty much ruined the 2020 season, I thought last year was a pretty dismal year, although I finished first in my age group at the Kansas Senior Games. I didn’t jump as well as I wanted to, but that jump gave me a Top 25 ranking and was 2 centimeters shy of All-American status.

Not too bad, especially considering most Masters vaulters jumped at least in high school and many or most in college.

All right, more later …